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MP warns against commercial flights at RAF Northolt
MP Steve Pound has raised concerns over rumours that military base RAF Northolt could be used for commercial flights.
The Ealing North MP has called for a debate in Parliament following reports that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is considering several options to rein in spending.
The more talked about option is that the historic base, situated close to the Northolt border in Ruislip, could be sold off to developers as the MOD faces severe pressure after £2billion of cuts to its budget.
But Mr Pound said another way identified in the review to generate cash is to use the base as a satellite runway for Heathrow Airport four miles away - a prospect he says would be 'worse than HS2' for Northolt residents.
He said: "As part of the strategic defence review, the government has discovered they've overspent by £2bn.
"One option is to sell off the Crown Estate at RAF Northolt. It would be almost impossible to sell it off for housing. The other option is to use it as a satellite to Heathrow, which comes up every two years.
"The consequences would be disastrous for Ealing North.
"We've had the trains and the planes, it's just as well they're not putting liners on the Grand Union Canal otherwise it'd be a triple whammy.
"If they turn it into a hub spur for Heathrow there will be misery in the skies and bring darkness and doom for the people of Ealing North."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence would neither confirm nor deny the rumours, saying: "We continue to scrutinise all defence expenditure to secure the best value for money.
"RAF Northolt is no exception. It already generates revenue through landing fees from private flights and sources of income generation are of course kept under review."
The base opened in 1915 and several squadrons were stationed there during the Battle of Britain. It is now home to the 32 (the Royal) Squadron and regularly used by the Queen and other foreign royalty and heads of state.
Although it is a military base, a small number of VIP passengers also use the runway.
Are you worried about the prospect of commercial jets roaring over Northolt? Or do you think the rumours are unfounded? Leave your comments below.
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